Extreme heat
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California lawmakers are set to vote on rules aimed at protecting indoor workers from extreme heat, a measure that could benefit schoolchildren as teachers are included in it.

If approved, employers would have to provide relief to workers in places like warehouses, kitchens and other places that could heat up to dangerous levels. As classrooms are included, students can benefit from the rules applied to teachers, custodians and cafeteria workers.

"Our working conditions are students' learning conditions," said Jeffery Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers. "We're seeing an unprecedented change in the environment, and we know for a fact that when it's too hot, kids can't learn."

Concretely, standards would require indoor workplaces to be cooled below 87 °F (30°C) when employees are present and below 82 °F (27.7 °C) where workers have to wear protective clothing or are exposed to radiant heat.

The state worker safety board is set to vote on the measures on June 20. If approved, they are likely to go into effect this summer. It comes as as a heat wave continues to hit large parts of the country's south, with the central part of the state gearing up for temperatures that could top 110 °F (43.3 °C) in the following days.

Authorities have warned about "potentially life-threatening heat-related illnesses due to a change in the weather pattern that will result in triple-digit temperatures during the region's first summer heat wave."

In recent months, Mexico and the United States have been experiencing the El Niño phenomenon, which causes sea surface temperatures to be warmer than average, affecting the climate worldwide.

As ocean temperatures rise, this phenomenon heats up the atmosphere and alters wind circulation patterns that travel from one continent to another.

The phenomena gets more common as global temperatures continue to heat up. Earth recorded all-time highs last year, and 92% of the increases were caused by humans, according to a group of scientists.

California's initiative stands in contrast with those of other places in the U.S., like Florida, which has recently enacted a law preventing cities and counties from implementing their own protections against extreme heat. The law disproportionately impacts Latino workers, who make up a large proportion of outdoor workers.

The legislation, known as House Bill 433, forbids local authorities from mandating that employers provide their employees with, for example, water breaks or advance notice of their work hours.

There are currently no federal regulations in place to safeguard outdoor workers across the country from extreme heat and humidity.

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